In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

184CINTL WAR history may surprise the modernreader; it should remind us, particularly before Second Bull Run, that McClellan was regarded as the army's savior to many in the North who wanted a vigorous prosecution of the War. Two other features of this volume of the Olmsted papers bear mention . Jane Turner Censer's introduction is excellent, particularly in attempting to place the work of the Sanitary Commission in historical perspective. She makes the interesting argument that the Civil War marks the tentative beginning of the "organizational society" that historians normally associate with the Progressive era. Attention to administrative setup and the use of questionnaires and other social science methods are the hallmarks of the twentieth-century expert, but at least in Olmsted's work, we see some of this appear in 1861. The endnotes to each document are the other outstanding feature about the editors's work on Volume IV. An enormous amount of solid research has gone into identifying all the correspondents and names and events that appear in Olmsted's writings. This volume continues the high standard set by the first three, and readers of Civil War History should make sure that their libraries have made a commitment to purchase this important series. James W. Oberly University of Wisconsin—Eau Claire The Union Cavalry in the Civil War: Volume III, The War in the West, 1861-1865. By Stephen Z. Starr. (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1985. Pp. xv, 616. $32.50.) With this volume, completed before his death in 1985, Stephen Z. Stancrowned his trilogy on northern horse soldiers in the Civil War. As with the preceeding volumes, Starr deeply mined the rich Official Records and found many insights through his close study of regimental histories. The result is a lively and detailed narrative covering raids, skirmishes, depredations, and patrols, as well as the role of cavalry and mounted infantry in the major battles from the Alleghenies west to Missouri, and from the Ohio River south to Mansfield, Brice's Crossroads, Nashville, and Selma. Starr analyzes a number of major points. For instance, he contends that the consistent lack of cavalry equipment and arms hampered the outfitting and training of Yankee horsemen throughout the war, indicating "the fallacy of the commonly accepted notion that northern industry, going into high gear as soon as the war broke out, supplied Union armies . . . with a superabundance of all the weapons and gear they needed to overwhelm the agricultural South" (p. 9). As late as the winter of 1863-64 some Union horse units in the West still were armed with several different types of carbines and were shy of other basic accouterments . Starr concludes that "the greater the distance [from Washing- BOOK REVIEWS185 ton, D.C], theworse the weapons" (p. 592). Furthermore, the poor quality and low numbers of horses obtained by the Union restricted the training and professional development of the arm blanche. Despite these problems, senior field commanders claimed time and again that they never had enough cavalry regiments or mounted infantry units. (It is interesting to note that the Civil War commanders' call for more cavalry sounded quite similar to pleas from army district and department commanders in the South during Reconstruction.) U. S. Grant, William S. Rosecrans, Don Carlos Buell, and others all complained to higher headquarters about their need for more cavalry, which they then misused , diverting horsemen to guarding depots or wagon trains rather than screening operations or reconnaissance. For example, Grant at Shiloh failed to order mounted units to scout southward toward Corinth, and thus deprived himself of information about the Confederates that cavalry could have given him. Learning more about cavalry later, Grant authorized Benjamin H. Grierson's Mississippi raid, a turning point showing "that the Confederate cavalry no longer had a monopoly on the ability to conduct raids deep into enemy territory and that, indeed, the time had come when the hitherto despised Union cavalry was to be taken seriously, at least in the West" (p. 185). Surprisingly, none other than John Pope—"surely not one of the major intellects of the Regular Army," as Starr points out (p. 26)—first recommended combining scattered units into more forceful divisions...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 184-186
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.